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Public sector equality duty

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Dear Abingdon Town Council,

My understanding is that according to the Equalities Act 2010, parish councils are scheduled as a "public authority" and accordingly are subject to the public sector equality duty set out in Part 11 of the act.

The public sector equality duty sets out responsibilities to

"foster good relations between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and persons who do not share it." and to "...encourage persons who share a relevant protected characteristic to participate in public life or in any other activity in which participation by such persons is disproportionately low." in particular to "tackle prejudice, and promote understanding."

Please could you tell me if

a) Abingdon Town Council has discussed their public sector equality duty

and

b) If these discussions included sexual orientation

Please could you provide me with a list of occasions since the duty came into force when Abingdon Town Council has either

c) taken action to exercise the parts of the duty quoted above, with respect to sexual orientation,

or

d) been asked, but declined, to take actions that could reasonably be assumed to relate to the parts of the duty quoted above had they been undertaken (again with respect to with respect to sexual orientation)

Yours faithfully,

James Davis

Nigel Warner, Abingdon Town Council

Dear Mr Davis

 

Thank you for your e-mail, the receipt of which I acknowledge.  I shall
respond within the statutory timescale.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Nigel Warner

Town Clerk

Abingdon-on-Thames Town Council

Tel: 01235 522642

Fax: 01235 533112

 

 

The information in this e-mail, together with any attachments, is
confidential. If you have received this message in error you must not
print off, copy, use or disclose the contents. The information may be
covered by legal and/or professional privilege. Please delete from your
system and inform the sender of the error. As an e-mail can be an informal
method of communication, the views expressed may be personal to the sender
and should not be taken as necessarily representing the views of the
Council. As emails are transmitted over a public network the Council
cannot accept any responsibility for the accuracy or completeness of this
message. It is your responsibility to carry out all necessary virus
checks. You should be aware that all emails received and sent by this
Council are subject to the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and therefore
may be disclosed to other parties under that Act.

 

 

Nigel Warner, Abingdon Town Council

Dear Mr Davis

 

Freedom of Information Request – Public Sector Equality Duty

 

Thank you for your email of 6^th April 2017 in relation to the above. 

 

Please treat this email as the Council’s formal response to your various
requests for information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. 

 

I will answer your requests in the order in which they were posed and
repeat each question in turn.

 

Question (a): Has Abingdon Town Council has discussed their public sector
equality duty?

 

Answer: Yes

 

Question (b): Did these discussions include sexual orientation? 

 

Answer: Yes

 

Questions (c) and (d):

Please could you provide me with a list of occasions since the duty came
into force when Abingdon Town Council has either:

 

c) taken action to exercise the parts of the duty quoted above, with
respect to sexual orientation

 

or

 

d) been asked, but declined, to take actions that could reasonably be
assumed to relate to the parts of the duty quoted above had they been
undertaken (again with respect to with respect to sexual orientation)

 

 

(c)  Answer:  The Town Council exercises its duty in relation to the
Equality Act 2010 across all of its functions/ services as required by
law.  it is beyond the scope of this request for me to respond to every
occasion when the Council will have considered this duty.  Therefore I
would refer you to the Council’s minutes and those of Council committees
which may be found on the Council’s website, [1]www.abingdon.gov.uk

 

However, there are two specific occasions when the Council has exercised
its duty and which I would draw your attention to:

 

o The adoption of a revised Equal Opportunities policy in relation to
staffing which specifically refers to Protected Characteristics (as
defined by the Equalities Act 2010), including sexual orientation.
This revised policy was adopted by the Council in 2014.

 

o The motion of the Town Council which was unanimously resolved on 5^th
October 2016 as follows:

 

“We are proud to live in a diverse and tolerant society.   We believe that
hate crimes have no place in our country, whether they are based on Race,
Religion, Sexual Orientation, Age, Disability or Gender
Identity. Abingdon-on-Thames Town Council condemns racism, xenophobia and
hate crimes unequivocally.  We will not allow hate to become acceptable.

 

 “We reassure all people living in Abingdon-on-Thames that they are valued
members of our community.”

 

(d)  Answer:  I consider that your wording of your question, which refers
to “actions that could reasonably be assumed to relate to the parts of the
duty quoted above,”  requires a subjective judgement to be made and
therefore is not a request for information.  In relation to the decisions
of the Council I would refer you to the Council’s minutes and those of
Council committees which may be found on the Council’s website,
[2]www.abingdon.gov.uk

 

If there is an action or refusal to take action which concerns you I would
request that you specifically ask the question of me in relation to the
action or refusal to take action and I may be able to supply further
information. 

 

However to my knowledge the Council has never received any request to take
action which has specifically referred to the Equality Act 2010.
Consequently in this regard there have been no requests declined. 

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

Nigel Warner

Town Clerk

Abingdon-on-Thames Town Council

Tel: 01235 522642

Direct line:  01235 468349

Fax: 01235 533112

 

 

The information in this e-mail, together with any attachments, is
confidential. If you have received this message in error you must not
print off, copy, use or disclose the contents. The information may be
covered by legal and/or professional privilege. Please delete from your
system and inform the sender of the error. As an e-mail can be an informal
method of communication, the views expressed may be personal to the sender
and should not be taken as necessarily representing the views of the
Council. As emails are transmitted over a public network the Council
cannot accept any responsibility for the accuracy or completeness of this
message. It is your responsibility to carry out all necessary virus
checks. You should be aware that all emails received and sent by this
Council are subject to the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and therefore
may be disclosed to other parties under that Act.

 

 

References

Visible links
1. http://www.abingdon.gov.uk/
2. http://www.abingdon.gov.uk/

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